The Presidential Election Petition Court (PREPEC), on Friday in Abuja admitted in evidence some documents tendered by the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar in proof of his petition against the declaration of Tinubu as winner of the February 25 presidential election.
The documents, aimed at establishing allegations of perjury and non-qualification, included Tinubu’s Chicago University Certificate, discharge Certificate of the National Youth Services Corps (NYSC), a copy of transcript from South West College, and membership card of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
However, while the name on Tinubu’s NYSC certificate bears Tinubu Bola Adekunle; on his South West College transcript, the column for gender stated the bearer as “female”.
Others tendered and also admitted as exhibits by the court are notarized judgement of a United State of America court for criminal forfeiture of assets said to belong to Tinubu; a certificate of Service from Mobil Oil Nigeria Plc, and a print out of his alleged Guinean passport.
But Tinubu, INEC and his party, who are all respondents in Atiku and PDP’s petition against the outcome of the presidential election, objected to the admissibility of the documents.
The respondents through their individual lawyers stated that reasons for their objections would be preferred at the final address stage.
Similarly, the five-member panel of the presidential election court, presided by Justice Haruna Tsammani, while admitting the documents, stated that ruling on the respondents’ objections would also be delivered alongside their final judgement in the petition.
The various documents were tendered by one Mike Enahoro-Ebah, who testified as the 27th witness of the petitioners.
At the proceedings yesterday, shortly after the petitioners tendered polling unit results (Forms EC8A) of Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Enugu, Imo and Kogi States, their lead counsel, Chief Chris Uche, SAN, announced to the court that they would be calling their star witness, who was summoned by the court to give evidence in their petition.
After adopting his witness’ statement on oath, the witness was then led by Uche to tender a copy of Tinubu’s Form EC9 accompanied with an affidavit in support of particulars.
However, during cross examination by the respondents, the witness admitted not being the official custodian of Tinubu’s Chicago University certificate he brought before the court.
He also admitted filing a direct criminal complaint before an Abuja Magistrate court last year, challenging the qualification of Tinubu in the presidential election, adding that the court declined jurisdiction of the matter.
He also told the court he did not need to confirm from the Guinean embassy the citizenship of Tinubu to that country because the Guinean President, Alfa Conde had already confirmed Tinubu’s citizenship of Guinea.
Questioned further by APC’s lawyer, Prince Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, the witness stated that the asset forfeiture judgement allegedly entered against Tinubu was not signed by a police officer, adding that the judgement also does not need to carry any photograph or thumbprint of anyone.
While admitting that there was no conviction in the judgement, the witness claimed that the judgement contained a plea for forfeiture.
At the end of cross examination of the witness, petitioner’s lawyer announced to the court that, “this will be our last witness in this case.”
He added that having exhausted the days allocated to them by the court at the pre-hearing session, they will, in line with Paragraph 46(5) of the 1st Schedule of the Electoral Act, “Apply to close the case of the petitioners.”
Following agreement reached by all parties, Justice Tsammani fixed July 3 for the respondents to open their defences.
Atiku and PDP had on March 21 filed their petition challenging the declaration of Tinubu as winner of the February 25 presidential election.
Besides alleging non-compliance with the electoral laws, the petitioners claimed that Tinubu did not score the highest number of lawful votes cast in the election.
They also submitted that Tinubu was not qualified to contest the poll over alleged perjury and controversies surrounding his age, academic qualification, dual citizenship, amongst others.
Atiku and PDP in addition said INEC was wrong in declaring Tinubu winner having not met the constitutional threshold of scoring 25 percent of votes cast in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
In their petition, marked CA/PEPC/05/2023, Atiku and PDP thereby prayed the court to nullify the declaration of Tinubu as President on account of the alleged malpractice raised in their petition and declare them winner of the February 25 presidential election.
In the alternative, they prayed for the cancellation of the presidential election and the conduct of a fresh presidential poll.
Alex Enumah in Abuja